Monday, December 22, 2008

It's the first time I've ever won anything

So I'm a recipient of one of what I think is the first batch of A Hoy awards. Susan from the 'If You're Going Through Hell' blog awarded it to me, which is really very nice of her. At first I thought it might be an insult. I mean, A... Hoy... I thought it sounded a little like A-Hole. But, no, it seems to be a compliment and, looking at the other blogs on the list, I'm in great company.

So huge thanks for that! Almost makes me feel like I have a real blog.

I managed to get my Christmas shopping done, which is great. It's going to be a lean Christmas this year though. I'm broke and, well, it's recession time. It's odd that some people, mainly economists, advocate spending like there's no tomorrow to keep the economy healthy and turn around this recession.

Doing that is like risking being the last guy in a pyramid scheme. You see, there is a tomorrow. And you could have lost your job by then. You want to be the guy who just spent his latest paycheque on a pair of fancy shiny Italian shoes? Will the boost you gave to the economy be any comfort when you can't pay your rent or mortgage?

And I call it 'recession' because that seems to be the accepted term for what's happening but that's not the reality where I am. It's simply that things are returning to more realistic levels. The economy over here was completely false. It was unsustainable. Built entirely on fantasy. The cost of living went sky high, house prices went utterly ridiculous and people got themselves up to their ass in debt all the while shouting about this great time of boom. When reality kicks in, it looks like a recession but it's simply the world returning to a state of normality.

But the thing about the economy is that it is a man-made system. And people get rich simply by manipulating these arbitrary made-up rules. But economists are full of shit. They're like cult members. They spend years in college being conditioned that the world is a certain way and they totally believe it because they have to - if they didn't, their world would mean nothing. And so they have a massive vested interest in making a reality out of their teachings, just like cult members I guess.

Thing is, a good economist can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that their systems work.

Because they prove it by enforcing their own set of conditions.

I think one thing is important to bear in mind: the world we are born into is one that we, humans, created. Our cities are not built to a divine plan. Our economic systems, our political systems, our societies were not set in stone at the moment of the Universe's conception. We made the world this way. We created it.

And, if we created it, we can always tear it down and start again.

So, yes, for me it's a more lean Christmas this year. It has to be. That doesn't mean it can't be a fun, warm Christmas spent with family and, if I had them, friends.


Toole said...

In Russia they have this bizarre system where everyone saves their money to buy expensive things all at once. Almost all of them don't even shackle themselves with decades long mortgages. What a country.

Red Pill Junkie said...

After putting it on hold for so long, I finally managed to find the courage to go to a shopping mall this Saturday—I wasn't brave enough to go alone though, I ask my sister for support.

The first thing I thought when I entered the mall is "WHAT CRISIS?" Everyone was spending like crazy, people with 4-5 bags in each hand, long lines to pay and long lines to have your presents wrapped up.

You see, people here in Mexico are so used to being told the world is going to end, you eventually get used to it and act normally. It's like America after 9/11: Eventually, the fear of terrorism gets old, after a few years of threats and continually being reminded the baddies are out there plotting to kill you.

Of course, that doesn't mean we should act as if nothing's happened. All those people who are now using their plastics are going to face a harsh January; but many people are used to resorting to pawn shops to resolve their financial woes. It's almost as if Mexicans were anti-materialists materialists: for them, it's the giving and receiving gifts that counts; how long you can enjoy the gift is beside the point—that's why we have a saying over here 'Lo bailado nadie te lo quita', which means that the memories of the moments you enjoyed yourself (often recklessly) cannot be taken away.

Mr. Trombley said...

Dear Sir, I once read about a British TV show where (Now Former) Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher proposed abolishing economists.

According to my browser history it must be Yes, Minister - that and The Prisoner are the only British shows in I've looked at in the past 9 days.

Economics is very strange. It's one of those things that uses a lot of numbers, but never really quite becomes math. Even in abstract there is more philosophy than science. You are quite right, too many economists are shaman, waving totems they don't understand.

On the other hand, someone told me about a month and a half ago "Christmas is right around the bend!" and I bought all my presents immeadiately. So I spent the weekend watching Werner Herzog movies. Stoszek is still my favorite.

Even with everything, please still have a Merry Christmas!